Thinking Out Loud

January 23, 2014

Christian Denominational Heads in Israel With Canadian Prime Minister

The Canadian falls at Niagara are probably frozen as you read this

The Canadian falls at Niagara are probably frozen as you read this

Sometimes I make a discovery online only to recognize that another blogger can handle the story better. Besides, with a 72% American readership, stories about my home and native land aren’t really all that interesting. So I passed on this and besides, the link list took priority yesterday.

In Canada, many of our political scandals have to do with the misspending of funds. With one tenth of the U.S. population, budgets are smaller and errors generally don’t run into the billions, as they might south of The 49th Parallel. But when the Prime Minister decides to take 208 people with him to Israel, it’s hard not see a future scandal in the making. At the very least, it’s an obscene amount of spending. The government is covering the airfare for 30 of the 208, and hotel (and presumably this entails some food) for all of them.  This does not include an official delegation of 31 which traveled on whatever the Canadian equivalent is of Air Force One.

But a handful of the travel party were the heads of some of this country’s largest Evangelical denoms.

Don Simmonds from Crossroads Christian Communications
David Wells, Pres. of Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC)
Don Hutchinson, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC)
David Hearn, president of Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA)(and his wife)
Stephen Jones, president of Fellowship of Evangelical Baptists of Canada (FEBC)
Shawn Ketcheson, pastor Trinity Church, Ottawa

The EFC thing actually duplicates the three denominations since it is the umbrella group to which they all belong. No mainline churches are represented; no Presbyterians, no Anglicans, no Roman Catholics and no one from the United Church of Canada, whose ministers are now moving to become Canada’s first clergy trade union.

Should the Evangelicals have accepted this gift? Honestly, methinks not, especially should the word ‘scandal’ ever become attached to this little junket/photo-op. Okay, for the business representatives that are part of the 208, it’s more than a photo-op, but for a Member of Parliament who was caught by CBC news begging to be allowed in to the Western Wall with the PM for some pics, it was more about domestic politics back home than foreign relations.

But like I said at the beginning, this type of story really isn’t my beat, so we’ll throw you over to investigate journalist Bene Diction.

(you were supposed to click that!)
(Bene can take all the tough questions!)



  1. The delegation also included several Catholic bishops, and Jewish religious leaders.

    Comment by ralph juthman — January 23, 2014 @ 10:46 am

    • The Jewish Rabbis are a no-brainer on a trip to Israel. Neither me nor Bene Diction saw any Roman Catholics. If you’re seeing something on the list that we’re missing, please let us know.

      Comment by Paul Wilkinson — January 23, 2014 @ 11:00 am

      • In the earliest reports the Toronto Star, Sun, Globe and Mail and National post each reference that there catholic priests as part of the delegation.

        Comment by ralph juthman — January 23, 2014 @ 11:07 am

  2. Ralph: If you found a Catholic priest or representative on the list the PMO put out, would you name him? I’ll post it. Thanks.

    We’ll be able to see who got what paid for – The Receiver General posts that kind of information in Public Accounts.

    As I understand it, there are 77 Conservative Party donors, 16 Liberal donors, 5 NDP donors, 21 rabbis, 32 registered lobbyists and the rest are business and community leaders.

    I went through the list again and I can’t find a representative of The Roman Catholic Church.

    Comment by BD — January 24, 2014 @ 4:50 am

  3. Ralph:

    Fr. Raymond de Souza went on the trip. He certainly counts as Catholic although I tend to the think of him as an opinion columnist and Conservative Party donor and party goer. (National Post)
    He doesn’t need approval from the bishops for his extra curricular activities, but he is a Catholic in good standing.
    I’ll update the post.

    Comment by BD — January 27, 2014 @ 3:13 am

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